What is the Bible?

The Bible

Written by: George J. Elling

The word “bible” simply means “book.” It has sometimes been called “The Book” or “The Good Book” because it is the most widely published book of all time and because of its content.

Actually, the Bible is not really a single book. Its content was written over a period of about 1,500 years by approximately 40 authors. The subsections of the Bible, also called “books”, consist of various types of literature; from historical narratives to poetry, proverbs, letters, and prophecies. These books are grouped into two main sections: The Old Testament, originally written almost exclusively in Hebrew, and the New Testament, originally written in the common Greek of the first century A.D.

The first 5 books are called the Books of Moses, or the law (“Torah” in Hebrew). They tell us about the creation of man, how we came to be separated from a personal relationship with God, and the consequences of that. They also tell us about the beginnings of God’s plan to bring us back to Himself.

First God called a man, Abram (later called Abraham), to have faith in Him. From the descendants of this one man, God promised to bring blessing and created a nation known today as the Hebrew or Jewish people. Early in their existence, the Hebrews became enslaved in Egypt. So, God called another man, named Moses, to lead the Hebrew people out of slavery and give them laws and regulations to become the nation known as Israel. In this process, God entered into a covenant with the Hebrews such that they would become a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” with the task of revealing God’s Word to others. The history of Israel and God’s revelations through them make up the rest of the Old Testament until we come to the time of Christ, the Messiah.

Many people do not realize that the word “Christ” is a title and means the same thing as “the Messiah”. The term “Christ” is from the Greek and “Messiah” is from the Hebrew. Translated into English, these terms mean “anointed one.”

As God had sent a deliverer to lead the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, God spoke to the Hebrew prophets, priests, and kings about a coming anointed one who would be a deliverer to redeem all people of all nations from their bondage to “sin”, i.e., their acts and attitudes that fall short of God’s holiness and perfection. This sin is what separates us from God and from each other leading to conflicts. The Bible says:

“for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 3:23

The arrival the Christ and the consequential changes brought about in people’s lives is the story of the New Testament. The New Testament describes Christ’s coming as Jesus of Nazareth, his ministry on earth, his death on a cross, his resurrection to new life, and the development of the early church. The New Testament ends with prophecies of things to come.

The New Testament tells us that Jesus Christ’s death redeemed us from our sins and through his resurrection we are given new life, His life, in and by the Holy Spirit.  That is, we can now have a spiritual rebirth through the spirit. The Bible says:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

Thus, the Bible is sometimes referred to as “the gospel” which means “good news.” Yes, the Bible has some hard things to say about us, and the people whose stories it recounts. But it also tells us how we can now be reborn spiritually, and in the future, experience a resurrection to life with God eternally and restoring the relationship we were created to have with Him.

How do you avail yourself of this opportunity for new birth, for a spiritual reset? The Bible says:

8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 
9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 
10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
11 “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 
12 “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 
13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Romans 10:8-13

You can call upon the name of the Lord by prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God by faith, out loud or silently in your heart. Express to Him your need for a Savior, or Redeemer, and invite Christ into your life to change you into the person He would have you to be. Then thank Him for His death on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and for the promise of the Holy Spirit in your life. You will now experience a new life, Christ’s life in your heart.

To grow in your understanding and to express worship to God and to experience fellowship with other believers, seek out a good Bible-teaching church and go there. Ask God to lead you to the right church. As with anything new, it will take some time for you to adjust to what God is doing in your life now that you have placed your faith and trust in Christ. Also, spend some time reading the Bible each day to better understand what is happening in your life. I’d recommend that you start with the New Testament section of the Bible, the section that recounts the Life of Christ on earth and the teachings of the early church. In time you will learn about the Old Testament section of the Bible that recounts what led up to the arrival of Christ on earth and it will give you more foundation for your faith.

Additional Notes about the Bible Quotes:

The words after the biblical quotes, for example, “Romans 10: 8-13”, refer to where the quote came from in the Bible. First is the name of the book within the Bible (Romans 10: 8-13). In this example, the book is called “Romans.” The numbers after the book’s name refer to the chapter and verse, or range of verses where the quote is found (Romans 10: 8-13). In this example, it is chapter 10, verses 8 through 13.

If you are not familiar with the books of the Bible you can look them up in the table of contents in the front of most Bibles.

-GJE

©Mark Davis 2021

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Tough Encounters

The events of recent days have tried many people’s patience and understanding. We are seeing it all; from the sickness of the Covid19 virus to marches in the streets, to rioting and looting, and political intrigue. In the midst of it is easy to lose a focus on what being a Christian is all about.

Written by: George J. Elling

The events of recent days have tried many people’s patience and understanding. We are seeing it all; from the sickness of the Covid19 virus to marches in the streets, to rioting and looting, and political intrigue. In the midst of it is easy to lose focus on what being a Christian is all about.

Some side with a particular political or activist group. Some side with the police and others with the call to defund the police. Some identify with this racial or ethnic group and others with a different group. There are plenty of viewpoints to go around. As we all respond to people and the issues of the day here are a few things to keep in mind from a Christian perspective.

What has been happening is Nothing New nor a Surprise to God

There have been intergroup misunderstandings, dissentions, inequities and wars since the beginning of human history. Education, politics, police, armies, etc. cannot solve the basic problem of people’s hearts. Only God can change us from within. That is why Jesus told a very religious and pious man that he needed to be “born again” or “born from above” (John 3). God is in the business of changing us.

Also, remember that all of what comes your way is “filtered through the hands of God.” He knew this was going to happen and is with you through the midst of it.

“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Matthew 28:20b

Act as God did, out of Love

“For God so loved the world that He gave…
John 3:16a

God was under no obligation to rescue us and save us from ourselves. He acted from a pure, self-giving love. This type of love always has a cost. This is why God’s actions to save us are referred to in the Bible as redemption and as God “paying” a price for our redemption.

Jesus instructed us to love as He loved, and to go so far as to love even our enemies.

If we are to have this type of giving love for enemies, how much more should we have this love for those who simply disagree with us or advance a different cause? Also, note that we are to pray for those we believe persecute us. Some of our problems are because we are not praying for those we disagree with.

See people and people-groups as God does – See them from Above

Our basic perspective is very limited. All we do is see things from our natural limited point of view and time on this earth, which is all too brief and self-focused.

Paul wrote that he no longer saw people after the flesh, i.e., from the viewpoint of a natural man who is without the Spirit of God in his life.

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh:”
2 Corinthians 5:16a

Instead, Paul urged the following:

“1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
“2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

Colossians 3:1-4

Our present and future is not to be that of the natural man or woman who has not been born again of the Holy Spirit. We are to see people from the perspective of God and eternity. Our own rewards and glory will come when Christ is revealed again in all of His glory.

Resolve to be an Ambassador who is a Peace Maker

An ambassador is someone who represents another person or a country. An ambassador does not represent himself or his own self-interests. As we interact with others, we need to keep in mind that as a Christian we are to be ambassadors for Christ.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20

Christians are to be God’s ambassadors to bring about reconciliation between God and man and between men. Jesus taught his disciples:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Matthew 5:9

And,

10 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 
12 “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:”

Matthew 5:10-12a

A peace maker is one who brings reconciliation. We should ask ourselves what would Christ have us do to reconcile a person to God and to bring about reconciliation between people we interact with.

Your actions are not to focus on You, but about the needs of Others

Your needs will be met in Christ:

“But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 
Philippians 4:19

With your own needs met in Christ you can move forward with confidence in helping others.

Listen carefully, you don’t know the Whole Story

Each person you meet is coming to you with a lifetime of experiences, both good and bad. They are most likely acting out of that compilation of cultural inputs, teachings, successes, failures, rejections, and hurts. So, listen carefully to understand before you try to speak. This isn’t about you winning a Harvard style debate. It is about you being an ambassador for Christ (see above).

19 “…Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” 
James 1:19b-20

God is at work to Change You as much as He wants to Change Them

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Philippians 2:12

Each believer is called upon to apply the Word of God in everyday situations as part of “working out” or the “out working” of his or her salvation. As noted above, God knew you would be in an interaction with whoever it is that you are interacting with today. Now is the time to be the man or woman God intends you to be.

James teaches us:

22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 
23 “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 
25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein
, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
James 1:22-25

God will bless us through interacting with others in a godly way in spite of tough or challenging circumstances.

Count it all Joy

James wrote:

2 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 
3 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 
4 “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” 

James 1:2-4

God is more interested in you becoming a complete man or woman in Christ with Christ in you (Colossians 1:27) than He is in your “solving” whatever challenge you are facing. The trial or challenge you face helps accomplish this goal. Therefore, rejoice in challenges as an opportunity to grow as a person and help fulfill the mission of Christ.

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Christ’s name).”
Acts 5:41

You also may be helping to fill up what was “lacking” in Christ’s suffering on behalf of others in the body of Christ. Paul wrote of himself:

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:”
Colossians 1:24

What you are going through is not without purpose for your life and others.

Take Courage!

As stated in the beginning of this essay, Jesus told His disciples that:

“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Matthew 28:20b

The apostle Paul was so convinced of his life being “in Christ” that he could therefore confidently say:

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

In life, or death, Paul’s life was safe in Christ. Yours is too if you have received Him into your life.

Abide in Christ

Trying to do any and all of the above will be futile self-effort if you are not abiding in Christ. Give up on your self-efforts to control people and situations. You are not God. Give up on trying to have an immediate answer for everything and focus on Christ and His word. Jesus told His disciples:

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
John 15:5

Some ways to abide in Christ include:

  • Read and meditate on God’s word
  • Memorize God’s word
  • Listen for God’s voice
  • Pray for God’s direction, for the needs of others, and to be an instrument of His love.

-GJE

©Mark Davis 2021

Riding in Tandem with Jesus Christ

I’d never heard this story until last week in church, our Pastor read it to us, and at that point in time, I knew that I just had to share it with you! It might not be ‘exactly’ the way I would have written it, but it seems to come from the same place where many of us either are at or have been, so I left the integrity of the story where the author, as I know it, meant it to be to reflect their story. So, sit back, and read the story… Oh, and, don’t forget to ‘Pedal’!

The Road of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer,
my judge,
keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell
when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I really didn’t know Him.

But later on
when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life
was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back
helping me pedal.

I don’t know just when it was
that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.

When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable . . .
It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
up mountains,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness,
He said,
‘Pedal!’

I worried and was anxious
and asked,
‘Where are you taking me?’
He laughed and didn’t answer,
and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I’d say, ‘I’m scared,’
He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing,
acceptance
and joy.
They gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord’s and mine.

And we were off again.
He said, ‘Give the gifts away;
they’re extra baggage, too much weight.’
So I did,
to the people we met,
and I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him,
at first, in control of my life.
I thought He’d wreck it;
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal
in the strangest places,
and I’m beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion,
Jesus Christ.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore,
He just smiles and says . . . ‘Pedal.’

— author unknown”

Excerpt from Holy Sweat (page 51) by Tim Hansel

Tim Hansel didn’t actually write the story but it was included in the book he wrote called Holy Sweat. If you’ve never heard of Tim Hansel, that’s ok, I hadn’t either up to this point but I took it upon myself to find out something about him. I googled him (and the story) and came up with a wealth of information. I’m not going to tell his story here today because I’m here to talk about Jesus taking control of our lives, but I will tell you that if you are anything like most of us, you have had some circumstances happen to you that you feel shouldn’t have because you don’t know what you’ve done to anger God and draw His wrath upon you. That isn’t always the reason that things happen to us.

Let me tell you something, friend, Tim Hansel was a prime example of being handed a truck full of lemons and making lemonade out of it, and then selling it! Most of us would do extremely well to just be able to make lemonade.

I’m sure Tim would tell you that when you feel like you can get no lower or any flatter on your back and you feel that, if there is a God, He has totally forgotten about you, to lift your eyes a little bit higher than the highest mountain that you face and see the God that created the mountains and created you, and see that He is ultimately in control and that, as you most likely have recently realized, you are totally out of control!

So, keep pedaling! Let God do the steering, and let Him have control of the things that you don’t have control over.

In the time that I have personally been disabled (that, now being about 18 years), and having been also slammed onto my back, flat, with no physical control of any part of my body from my mid-chest down to my toes, and then eventually, after having been told that I would likely never walk or move again, I was able to learn how to move the bottom half of my body, although I still don’t feel much there, then later to be diagnosed with an incurable, inoperable, terminal, Stage 4 Carcinoid Cancer, which thankfully is very slow growing and hasn’t advanced much in the last 10 years but always stands ready to threaten my life once again at a moment’s notice.

I knew God and was ‘saved’ before all of this happened to me, but He has a way of using those low points in our lives to wake us up and get our attention (if we are really paying attention to our circumstances) and let us know that He is still there and wants to lead us on to bigger and better things.

Even though I was never fully ‘healed’ of my infirmities, I have learned that God has allowed these things to happen to me so that I can be used of Him.

He has allowed me to be put into circumstances that, if these things had never happened to me, I would never have been able to run into people that He wanted me to be talking to about Him, or to be in places where I would be able to console someone in similar circumstances (in one way or another, but I doubt and hope that no one has the same situation as mine) and to listen to their stories. Sometimes they are in need of guidance that I can give them and sometimes I am the one in need of guidance from them. But either way, I am always blessed to be able to talk to those people and hopefully be a blessing to them.

I learned many years ago that regardless how I feel at the time or whatever condition/circumstances that I find myself in, there is always someone in a worse way than myself and, because of that, I have no right or reason to feel sorry for myself. It may not make all of my pain go away but it puts me in a state of mind where I am not concerned with my own infirmities but rather in tune with others and wanting/willing to help them, even if it is nothing more than just a prayer – which, possibly, might actually be the best ‘help’ that I could be to them because, much like them, I have no more control over their circumstances than I have of my own.

I have also learned that He keeps me in a position where I am always reliant on Him and I can’t make it without Him, whether it is through pain and my physical problems or through my finances. He always keeps me right on the line so that I am always looking to Him for support.

You have probably heard the saying, ‘barely able to keep my head above water?’ I picture someone in water deeper than they are tall and they have their head bent back so that their mouth and nose are barely able to gasp for air, but something else that I see in that picture is the person’s eyes. They are also above water, even though sometimes the water may splash over them and blind them for a second or two, they are above water and which way are they pointing?

They are pointing UP!

I wonder why that could be… maybe to be able to look in the direction of the Creator – the ONLY ONE that has any control to either drain some of the water from the ‘pool’ (for some of us almost all of the water drains out) or to build up the ground beneath us to give us a better toe-hold below them.

But either way, God, our Creator, the only One that can control the winds and the seas or make the hair on our head grow (if you happen to have any), but in any case, He even knows how many hairs you have on your head. He is the one that puts the wind under the wings of the birds of the air or the air in your lungs.

He is the ONLY ONE that has ANY control over your particular situation.

He may keep your head ‘barely above water’ so that He can use you to be the example to someone else to show them how you are able to breathe and ultimately look to God in your time of need and so that they can see how God actually meets your needs!

A dear friend of mine told me this week about how he had been feeling a bit down and he was grumbling to God and others about things going on in his life. He had looked on his phone (that is how he gets his reminders of what to read for his ‘time with God’, otherwise known as ‘devotions’) one morning and saw the link to his daily reading. As he opened it up the top of the page read: “QUIT WHINING!”

Friend, are you missing something in your life right now? Do you feel like someone is just walking all over you and you can’t take it anymore?

Read the story again!

Let Jesus take control of your life right now. If you don’t know how to do that, please let me know on my ‘Contact Page‘ and I will get back with you and we can chat about it, confidentially. But ultimately, friend, please talk to God about it. Turn your life’s controls over to Him and let Him drive your tandem bike on this wonderful ride we call ‘Life’.

If you feel like you want to read some more about this subject, I’ll leave you some more links at the bottom of this page to take a look at. Don’t just let this go though, friend! You can’t do it all on your own.

© Mark Davis 2017

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Temptation 2

1 Corinthians 10:13
“There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted
above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape,
that ye may be able to bear it.”

Matthew 26:41
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

– James 1:12-16
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

James 4:7
“Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Hebrews 2:18
“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted,
he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

– Ephesians 6:10-12
10″Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might. 
11″Put on the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12″For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Matthew 4:1-11
“Then was Jesus led up of the
Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted
of the devil.” 

Ephesians 4:27
“Neither give place to the devil.”

– Mark 14:38
“Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

James 1:2-4 
2″My brethren, count it all joy
when ye fall into divers temptations; 

3″Knowing this, that the trying
of your faith worketh patience.

4″But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire,
wanting nothing.”

Luke 4:8
And Jesus answered and said unto him,
Get thee behind me, Satan:
for it is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,
and him only shalt thou serve.

– 2 Peter 2:9
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly
out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust
unto the day of judgment to be punished”

Proverbs 1:10 –
“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”

– Luke 22:40
“And when he was at the place,
he said unto them,
Pray that ye enter not into temptation.”

Revelation 3:10
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

Hebrews 2:17-18
17″Wherefore in all things it behoved him
to be made like unto his brethren,
that he might be a merciful and faithful
high priest in things pertaining to God,
to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18″For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted,
he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

– Hebrews 4:15-16
15″For we have not an high priest which
cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are,
yet without sin.

16″Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need.”

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken unto you,
that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world.”

©2016 Mark Davis

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How Many Churches Did Jesus Establish?

Recently, I had a reader ask a question that I thought was pretty good and a very viable question at that.

Note — I want you all to know that if a person comments on a post on this blog, it does not automatically end up becoming a new post for me.  The only reason that I repost this text is because I thought it might edify other members of the Bride of Christ – The Church.

And now on to the lesson:

Good day sir, please i have a question for you. how many Churches did Christ build in the bible? Mathew 16:18

Wow – thank you so much for your question.

I’m not exactly certain where you are going with this question but I think I will attempt to answer more than just your initial question as well as an other question which many others (as well as you might fall into this category as well) have asked regarding this text. I’m sorry ahead of time for the probability for this answer being a bit long but I believe for a complete answer to your question, it is required.

You reference, Matthew 16:18:

[KJV] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Just breezing through this text, one would presume that it is indicating just one church, Peter’s, correct? The Catholic Church believes that Peter was the founder of their faith also being their first pope. That is strange considering that Peter lived in the first century A.D. and the Catholic Church wasn’t founded until nearly 400 A.D. You do the math.

Actually, many believe that this text is indicating that Jesus is telling Peter that He will be building His church on him (Peter), believing that the Greek word for “Peter” and the Greek word for “rock” is the same greek word, “Petra” (G4073 πέτρα petra (pe’-tra) n.).

Here is a brief study on the original words that were used in this verse. The belief is that the verse (belief of the above statement) is stating that Peter is the head of the Church from that point forward; There is one Church (branching into many other sects), the Roman Catholics, that believe this such statement.

Here is the truth to this verse:

The Greek word for “rock” is: G4073 (Strong’s number), πέτρα (the Greek spelling), petra (English translation), (pe’-tra) (the pronunciation of the word in English), n. (indication of the type of word it is, in this case it is a noun – person, place, or thing.)

  1. (properly) a mass of solid rock (such as a solidly massive foundation or as jutting upward for hewing out a large family chamber tomb).
  2. (person) The Solid Rock (of Ages), Jesus, Yeshua.
  3. (Note) The solid rock is in distinct contrast to a piece of rock or a rock fragment.

The Greek word for “Peter” is: G4074 (Strong’s number), Πέτρος (the Greek spelling), Petros (English translation), (pe’-tros) the pronunciation of the word in English), n/p. (indicating that this could be used as a noun or a pronoun, indicated by context, not personal preferences – in this case it is used as a noun.)

  1. a (piece of) rock.
  2. as a name, Petrus, an apostle.

Notice the differences between these two words.

The word “petros” is being used as the “name of an apostle”, but if it were looked at as a form of rock, it would only be a small piece of rock… not much to put a church on.

The word “Petra” is being used as “(person) The Solid Rock (of Ages), Jesus, Yeshua”. If it were looked at as a form of rock, it would be a massive amount of rock, such as a foundation (bedrock).

Comparing the two, it, in my mind, and I think it is obvious the way the accurate translation should be, it should be the “rock” that is being used in this instance to build the Church upon is Jesus, The Solid Rock, The Bedrock, The Foundation of our Faith.

I have to answer your question as: There is only ONE Church being created in the verse, Matthew 16:18. The Church is NOT the Catholic Church, but rather the Church of Christians.

Christ-ian – literally means “little Christs” or “Christ-like, following Christ’s teachings and lifestyle”.

Where Peter was very instrumental in the early Church, especially in reaching the Jews with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul (previously Saul) was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Neither of which started their own sect or “religion” under their own names. They only spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(All specific references to words used in the Bible come from, Mickelson’s Enhanced Strong’s Dictionaries of the Greek and Hebrew Testaments)

–Mark

©2016 ChristiansAreUs.com

Additional Reading:

Mary Had A Little Lamb

Lamb

We’ve all heard the poem “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, but most of us only know the first part of it. Click on the link to see how the story ends up. It’s really a shame about that little Lamb…

Mary had a little Lamb,
His fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The Lamb was sure to go.

He followed her to school each day,
‘Twasn’t even in the rule.
He made the children laugh and play.
To have a Lamb at school.

And then the rules all changed one day,
Illegal it became;
To bring the Lamb of God to school,
Or even speak His name.

Every day got worse and worse,
And days turned into years.
Instead of hearing children laugh,
We heard gun shots and tears.

What must we do to stop the crime
That’s in our schools today?
Let’s let the Lamb come back to school,
And teach our kids to pray!

–Author unknown

IF YOU AGREE, PLEASE PASS IT ON!

Continue Reading:

Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?

This is one I have only seen circulating a couple of times, so; if this touches you, you may want to forward it.

Place Setting with Folded Napkin

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection?

I never noticed this before … In the Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.

The Bible takes the entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and placed separate than the other grave clothes.

Early ‘on the first day of the week’, Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran back and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved (John).

She said, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him!’ John 20:2

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple (John) outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen clothes lying there, but he didn’t go in.

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side by itself.

Was that important?

Absolutely!

Is it really significant?

YES!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day:

The folded napkin had to do with the ‘Master and Servant’, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now, if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table.

For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’.

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because………..

The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the
coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

He is Coming Back!

©2014 Mark Davis

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Continued Reading:

Reliable Strength

Be Strong and of a Good Courage...  Deut. 31:6

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deut. 31:6

 

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse, named Buddy.  He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, “Pull, Nellie, pull!” Buddy didn’t move.

Then the farmer hollered, “Pull, Buster, pull!” Buddy didn’t respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, “Pull, Coco, pull!”

Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, “Pull, Buddy, pull!” The horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

The farmer said, “Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try.””

Maybe, you might be feeling like Buddy of the story above… You are in a situation (could be anything) and you feel like you are the only one that it is affecting or that you are alone in the situation.

Where are you searching for help?

From Whom are you searching for your help?

If you have put your trust in Christ Jesus as your personal Savior, you never are going through your situations alone again.  You constantly have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you; who never leaves you (Hebrews 13:5), never allows more to come across your path than you can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13), will supply everything that you need (Philippians 4:13). All we have to do is call upon Him – ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11; Matthew 21:22; John 14:13-14; John 15:7; John 16:23-24)

As Christians, we are supposed to call on God’s name to help you with your situations.

Even though God wants the best things for His children – even the basic necessities that many of us take for granted – He wants us to look to Him for the source of our accomplishments, accommodations and finances.  And, even though God can just think something into existence without us ever recognising where it came from, He wants the credit, and sometimes, when we haven’t given Him the credit for a while, He might just have to wake us up by giving us challenges that we are not personally equipped to handle – but He is – and He just wants you to give Him the credit that He deserves and then to get back on track of looking to Him on a continual basis as He wants you to do.

Sometimes, those who are NOT Christians may be up against something that they are pulling their hair out over and maybe things are too much to handle… you have too much on your plate and can’t do anything about it. God can use those moments to make those who are unsaved to finally look to Jesus as the only thing that can help give him any relief, because everything that they do under their “own” power doesn’t seem to be working.

God is the ONLY strength – the ONLY power that we have, or need!

In our story above, Buddy was tricked to believe that he was pulling with other horses.  In our lives, Satan tricks us into believing that we are pulling by ourselves and that we have no other hope for help and that we have to handle our circumstances all by ourselves.  There couldn’t be anything further from the truth than this.

Jesus tells us to, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest“, in Matthew 11:28.  He actually wants us to let Him do the pulling for us.

God IS the ONLY strength – the ONLY power that we have, or need!

Let Him have control of the situation and give your troubles to Him, today!

©Mark Davis 2014

Continued Reading:

 

The Trojan Horse Infiltrates the Church

Please Click on above link to read complete article before reading further down!

The Gavel and The Bible

I have noticed a trend for quite some time now as I peruse the internet, various blogs, Facebook and other social media; the people or organizations that take a stand as you do here (and I on my blog) have a sparse following, while those who talk about “God’s Love” or anything “Jesus” (Jesus movement) and how the most important thing that we need to do is LOVE one another and NOT judge others and we must have a “relationship with Jesus”, but they never talk about true salvation or how we are supposed to know the scripture and to be able to discern teachings to know if they are right or wrong according to the Word of God.

It chaps my hide to hear all of this and I believe that the founding of these teachings is incorrect teachings from Bible versions that soften the Gospel of Christ.

If we were to go back to the first few centuries A.D., some of the most harsh competition to the true Church were the gnostics that would take a bit of the truth that everyone knew was true and twist it slightly to fit their agenda. The result of this teaching and twisting the Scriptures was that those that were weak in their faith would slide over to their more friendly church and soon they were following everything that they had to offer and shunning the truth that they had been taught in the first place. We have that problem today with the Pentecostals and Charismatics among other sects and cults. In fact some of them have some truly hardcore stances of some very true, straight-line teachings but then in other teachings they are totally off base.

It seems that if you want to spread something that is wrong, it is so readily accepted, where if you speak the truth, people call you harsh and unloving and push you away.

Thank you, Jim, for writing this post.

–Mark

©2014 Mark Davis

Continued Reading:

Can God Really Forget Your Sins?

In response to a question from a reader:

“This question is off topic…but what do you think this verse means?”

Hebrews 8:12
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,
and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

“Do you think it’s bad to go as far to say that when God sees us, He doesn’t see any of our sin and only views us as perfect and righteous?”

This is a great question and one that many people mistranslate much of the time.

The reason I say this is that there are also other scriptures that back this up but also clarify it more, to the point that it changes what it looks like it says in this scripture.

(Hebrews 10:16-17; Psalms 25:7; Psalms 65:3; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22; Jeremiah 33:8; Jeremiah 50:20; Micah 7:19; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 11:27; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 John 1:7-9; 1 John 2:1-2; Revelation 1:5)

The actual thought behind this statement is this: God the Son – Jesus – came to earth, shed His blood as the perfect sacrifice to forgive our sins, once and for all, and we as Christians have chosen to accept that sacrifice as payment for our sins. That being the case, the fact becomes that Jesus’ blood has enveloped and covered our sins so that it appears that they never happened, in God’s sight.  Once we have been saved, we are saved for eternity – we can NEVER lose His salvation.

Think about this:
If we sin, God sees it. He sees us on the very inside of our souls and sees every sin that we have ever done or ever will do. Since God is omniscient, He knows everything.

Can God forget something to the point that He can’t see it ever again? Since He created man and we are fallible; even though we have asked Jesus to come into our heart and His blood has forgiven and cleansed us of all of our past sins.  At that point, in God’s redemptive eyes, we have never sinned and are therefore perfect in His sight making us, because of Jesus’ blood, worthy of entering Heaven (since there can be no sin in heaven).

Did those sins disappear? NO! We can still remember them. We remember what we did, what it was like when we did it, how we felt and we may even have a propensity of committing that sin again (or one like it).

Can God, now, not see any of that? Yes. Because He knows us better than a brother knows us or our best friend. Being fallible, we have the ability to root up that memory of that action (sin); He doesn’t wipe our memory clean. Even if God had forgotten all of our sins prior to our salvation, if we remember that sin after that, God would know of that sin again.

It is just impossible for God to forget our sins to the point that it appears to Him as though we never sinned. He knows that we are “blood-bought”, “born again”, fallible Christians.

He knows that we have sinned but He also sees Christ in our lives and says, “Since you know My Son, you can come into Heaven.” Jesus has become our door pass into the Party of the Universe!

Remember that I said that Jesus’ blood forgives all of our sins up to that point – the point of salvation?

What happens to the sins that we will inevitably commit after that?

Won’t that then make us dirty in God’s sight and unable to enter Heaven? Yes, and No. We will be dirty but since we still have Jesus in our lives, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us; we will still be allowed entrance to Heaven.

Does that then give us a free pass to commit any sin we want after we are “saved”? NO! The whole chapter of Romans 6 talks about that.

What happens to the sins that we commit after we are saved?

Wow, that is a whopper of a question. The sins that we committed prior to salvation had, and still have, their consequences.  Even so, sin also has its consequences after we are saved and, if it results (or resulted) in some other consequence, regardless if it is physical, emotional or even judgmental (earthly).

Some of our sins are not seen by other people, maybe they were just a thought, but God sees them and so you are sinning against Him.

Much like the earthly courts, we will also stand before Jesus and face accountability for our unrepentant sins and our actions, whether right or wrong (1 Corinthians 3:1-11). Because of the verses before indicating that God remembers them no more, I believe that the judgment that the believers will face will be two-fold: 1) Judgment for the sins left unconfessed before God prior to the judgment (in Heaven), and 2) Judgement for the acts of service that we did and DID NOT do for God while we had the opportunity here on earth. Yes, we will be charged for the things that we knew we were supposed to do to please God and yet still didn’t do them (James 4:17).

Just for the record, the judgment that we will face as Christians is NOT the same judgment that the unsaved will face. The believer’s judgment is called the “Judgement Seat of Christ” or the “Bema Seat Judgment” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Jeremiah 17:7-10; 1 Peter 1:17; Romans 14:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Matthew 25:23; Proverbs 24:12). The unbeliever’s judgment is called the “Great White Throne Judgment” that will ultimately penalize the unsaved to an eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire with the Devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15)

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never even heard of the incident. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Barton’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

Luis Palau, Experiencing God’s Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1985.

That little story may be a bit humorous but I assure you that the difference between what God sees and what God doesn’t hold us accountable for, is not going to be too funny when we finally stand before God at the Judgment, whether it be the judgment for the believers or the judgment for the unbelievers.

Friend, if you fall under the heading of the unbeliever, I urge you to settle that between you and God.  Accept Christ’s sacrifice of His life on the cross as He shed His blood to be able to forgive your sins and mine, so that we may no longer have to stand accountable before Jesus and be thrown into everlasting fire (Hell) for never accepting that FREE gift of forgiveness and with it, eternal life in Heaven.

If you need any help in asking God for that forgiveness and don’t really know what to do, please contact me and I will be more than happy to guide you along.  You will never be sorry that you did.

If you have any further questions after studying through this article, please note them at the bottom of this page or you can go to our Contact Us Page to leave a more private comment that will come straight to me.  I will not try to embarrass you, but rather, I just want to make sure your questions are all cleared up.

God Bless You,

–Mark

©2013 Mark Davis

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